ABC rolled to victory on Sunday behind the fifth and final game of the NBA Finals, although a lack of drama contributed to some of the lowest ratings for the series. Still, the five-game average for the Los Angeles Lakers-Orlando Magic is the second best in the last five years for pro hoops.
There wasn’t a whole lot else happening on the broadcast nets Sunday, a night that was instead loaded with high-profile cable series, including the premiere of A&E’s “Hammertime” and the return of HBO’s “True Blood.”
According to time zone-adjusted preliminary nationals from Nielsen, Game 5 of the NBA Finals averaged a 5.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 14 million viewers overall from roughly 8 to 10:45 p.m. — down a bit vs. the previous three games and the second lowest-rated contest in the series. The Lakers took over the game midway through the second quarter and were never seriously challenged by the Magic the rest of the way in winning the franchise’s 15th championship.
The five games of this year’s NBA Finals averaged a 5.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 14.3 million viewers overall — within 5% of last year’s strong showing for the Lakers and Boston Celtics (6.1 rating, 15.0 million) and the second best since 2004.
None of its broadcast rivals came close to ABC on Sunday, as the night’s highest-rated non-basketball telecasts among young adults were repeats of Fox’s “Family Guy” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 4.4 million viewers overall), “The Simpsons” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall) and “King of the Hill” (1.8/6 in 18-49, 3.8 million viewers overall).
CBS was solid enough in total viewers but wasn’t a factor demo-wise with its lineup of “60 Minutes” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 7.2 million viewers overall), “Million Dollar Password” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 6.7 million viewers overall), “Cold Case” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and “Without a Trace” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall).
NBC struggled with “Dateline” (0.9/3 in 18-49, 4.8 million viewers overall) and a repeat of the opening night of two-part movie “10.5: Apocalypse” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 4.0 million viewers overall).
Ratings for the night’s myriad cable series will be available late Monday or Tuesday morning.
Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 3.8/12; Fox, 1.5/5; CBS, 1.0/3; NBC, 0.9/3; Univision, 0.6/2; CW, 0.4/1.
In total viewers: ABC, 9.6 million; CBS, 6.7 million; NBC, 4.1 million; Fox, 3.4 million; CW, 1.6 million; Univision, 1.5 million